Proverbs 21:13

“Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor

   will himself call out and not be answered.”

Proverbs 21:13 ESV

Here, the author uses “personal risk” to motivate the reader to hear the cry of the poor. Often it is easy to dismiss the suffering of others … until it happens to me.

This proverb reminds me of an English form poem that captures the sentiments of a 1946 speech written and delivered by German Lutheran pastor and theologian Martin Niemöller who was released from Dachau by the Allied forces in 1945.

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
     Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
     Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
     Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Who are you overlooking because you haven’t experienced their hardship?

Proverbs 21:6

“The getting of treasures by a lying tongue

    is a fleeting vapor and a snare of death.”

Proverb 21:6

If the ultimate goal is to get treasure, then a person may believe any means necessary is an acceptable philosophy of life. “I’m gonna get mine,” he might laughingly say. However, at the end of the day, he will discover that the treasure was nothing more than a fleeting vapor.

This reminds me of the man who spent his life climbing the ladder of success only to discover that he had his ladder leaning against the wrong building.

A couple questions: What is your ultimate goal in life? If you reached that goal would it be a fleeting vapor?

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